56 posts

Remembering p_mouse

Today I’m here to share some sad news with all of you. Peyton Moss, or “p_mouse” as we knew him, has passed away after a battle with cancer. Peyton was one of the first commenters on Crasstalk after the Gawker migration and was a founding member of our community. His passing is a great loss to all of us here who enjoyed his wit, kindness, and intellect.

Peyton was a not only commenter here, but also a writer, and a member of the Marketing Team. He was always an enthusiastic promoter of the blog and was always happy to give his advice an assistance to novice writers making their first unsteady steps in their writing. He was always kind to everyone on the site, adding a sweet word or a joke when arguments got heated and tempers flared. Continue reading

TV’s 10 Greatest A-Holes

An asshole isn’t a villain. He isn’t the CEO of an evil conglomerate secretly trying to take over the world. He’s the friend you have to apologize for after the party, but you continue to invite anyways. Here’s a list of the Top 10 TV Assholes; what makes them jerkfaces, dickwads, and tools; and the redeemable qualities that earn them a little place in our hearts. Continue reading

Community = “Common Unity”

In any community, regardless of the size or location, there are multifarious challenges in relating which all of us – as individuals and collectively – face at one time or another. Regardless of the specific circumstances, the goal of any group is to find a way to coexist peacefully and interact with others in a way that is beneficial – or, at the very least, civil – to all involved. The very fabric of society as a whole depends on these fundamental principles.


In my experience, the communities that I have enjoyed living in the most, and have felt an integral part of the most – from tiny pueblos to huge cities – have always been diverse to some degree. Whether the diversification comes from racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, political and/or intellectual differences, I have found that locales that are more of a melting pot (on any of the aforementioned levels) encourage compatible coexistence, if not necessarily tolerance and explicit interactions.


It is human nature – and it always feels easier – to remain in one’s comfort zones. We are all far more instinctively and unconsciously inclined to seek to engage with and appreciate people who look, think, believe, pray (or not pray) and behave in similar ways to our own predilections. But by ensconcing ourselves in this insular familiarity and self-created sense of “security”, we may miss the opportunity to learn new things. New patterns of behavior and edifying ourselves beyond our normal scope are what consistently motivate us to become greater than the previous sum of our parts. It is in seeking to surpass our long-held understandings that we truly grow, both as individuals and as members of society as a whole.


If my Italian-American mother hadn’t been open-minded when she met my West-Indian father when they were both students at Brooklyn College, neither I nor my uniquely wonderful brothers would be here today. My mother’s open-mindedness transcended her strict cultural upbringing. At the time of my birth in 1968, my maternal grandfather was a bigot only slightly to the left of Archie Bunker. Almost immediately after my birth, he became my best friend and surrogate father, and in time, he completely overcame his inherited racist beliefs. None of this would have been possible if my mother hadn’t had the courage to follow her heart instead of societal and familial indoctrination.


Over the years, I have become quite aware that some people view my innate friendliness and compassion with guarded suspicion, as though I must be hiding something up my sleeve. (Many more people have regarded and appreciated me at face value.) I make an effort not to judge the skeptics who doubt my true nature, because I know what is my truth. In addition, it’s a hard world to navigate, and sometimes the psycho-emotional mine field of daily living wears people down to the point where it’s all they can do to get by.


The problem with getting caught in the rut of survival instincts is that it becomes all too easy to become cynical. If we view everything with suspicion, then eventually, our capacity for hope and optimism will erode. This is why I make an effort to be kind as much as is possible: because there is so much enmity in the world already. But seeing everything in terms of polarities – kindness and enmity, etc. – isn’t necessarily a solution, either. There are too many shades of grey in between the absolutes, and – to extend the metaphor – there are also myriad majestic palettes of remarkable combinations of colors (experiences).


My purpose in writing this article is to invite readers – many of whom I already consider to be my community, my “circle of friends” – to make a deliberately heightened effort to appreciate difference, diversity and a fuller spectrum of what it means to be human. I invite you to choose something that is unquestionably the greatest challenge for you – for me, it would be having compassion for the right-wingers who are trying to dismantle women’s reproductive freedoms – and try to see the situation through your (perceived) adversary’s eyes. I’m not recommending in any manner that you should seek to adopt their point of view or even condone it in any way. I’m merely suggesting that you endeavor to shine a light of compassion into the darkness of their hatred.


As human beings, we can either keep bickering over base, insignificant trifles, destroying the once-pristine environment and the exquisite animal kingdom in our materialistic, frenetic distracted hubris; or else we can make a dedicated effort to find common ground with each other, and share our highest productive intentions instead. Considering the exceptionally dire state this planet is in, we would all do well to remember the fundamental, incontrovertible truth: that we are all in this together: and either we will all survive and thrive as a whole, or ultimately, none of us will.


I’ll leave you with the immortal words of Rodney King:

“Can we get along? Can we… can we… can we all get along? Can we stop making it horrible for the old people and the kids?”



What is Photo Phriday and Why is it Misspelled?

PhotoPhriday started on a whim: while chatting in Crosstalk on TSTSNBN, I suggested we share pictures of our personal living spaces. A few people were game (if memory serves, Matty McBoy’s reply was, “I’m game”) and the photo sharing began.

We had such a good time peeking into the lives of our friends and neighbors that we turned it into a real game. Since then, we’ve shared pictures of ourselves, our shame, our art, our travels. Best of all, it is a great way to get to know the amazing people with whom we share our online time.

The rules are few:

  • Pictures are for sharing, not for snarking. No judgement, no jerks.
  • Each week, there is a theme and a host. The host selects the theme.
  • To host on Crasstalk, you must have an author account and you must write a short post about the theme. This should be done no later than Thursday evening and set to “pending” so the admins can schedule it to be published on Friday.
  • If you are new to our community and are a commenter, but do not have an author account, be patient. Hang out, comment, and participate in PhotoPhriday and on other threads. Once we know you, you have a better chance of being asked to host.
  • Hosting duties rotate. The current host selects the following week’s host from among those participating in PhotoPhriday. You aren’t obligated to host, but it is really easy!
  • If there is no host, one of the admins or I will jump in for a week. If you host and can’t find someone who agrees to do it for the next week, please let me know. You can contact me at [email protected].
  • If you don’t want to “out” yourself, be sure to remove personal details before taking and uploading a picture. Please don’t out others: don’t post pictures of other people, their children, or anyone who may not want to have their mug on the Internet.
  • No NSFW photos. Sorry, pervs.
  • Instructions for how to upload and share a picture should be included in each PhotoPhriday theme post.

Oh, and the spelling? It is one word, no space, because it had to work as a tag on the old site: #photophriday (#pourafortyonthefloor), and it is misspelled because I was trying to be cute. Now we’re stuck with it and every time I see it, I think, “phuck.”

This week’s host is DogsOfWar. He dropped no hints about the theme, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be about clouds.